Addiction and Marriage, Part 1 told of a married couple’s struggle with alcohol and its impact on their marriage. The story ended with Ellen resolving to find David (names changed to protect their privacy), who was drinking heavily, had quit his job and left town. She was going to bring him home and move forward with divorce.
“Little did I know, the Lord had other plans,” Ellen says.
She knew he had gone on a business trip to Las Vegas and resigned from his job while there, so she headed for the Nevada city.
“I had a name of a hotel I thought I had heard in one of the phone calls (from David). I arrived in the middle of the night. When the taxi driver saw the name of the hotel, he tried to talk me out of going there, saying I had no business in that part of town.”
At the hotel, Ellen found her husband on the brink of death from drinking.
“It took six paramedics and police officers to get my husband out of that room and to the hospital,” Ellen says. “I’ve never seen anything like that in my life. In 48 hours we were on a plane home. When the plane landed, David went straight into treatment knowing our marriage was over.”
Over the 30 days David was in treatment, Ellen received letters from him daily. Through the letters, she got to know her husband again.
“If we had been talking, we would have been fighting because I felt so much anger toward him,” Ellen says. “I never once wrote him a letter. I did take the kids to see him on Father’s Day.”
That day, Ellen saw her husband healthy for the first time in a very long time. In spite of her anger and resentment, she had a small glimmer of hope, like something bigger than themselves was going on.
“Both of us had been trying to make everything better on our own,” Ellen says. “We didn’t think we needed anybody to help us, nor did we want people knowing our business. Exhausted and at the end of my rope, I finally broke down and shared about our situation with a group of friends.
“Even though David was in treatment again, I was still so angry I could not even pray for him. I asked them to pray for him to heal and that my heart would heal. While I had no hope for our marriage, I didn’t want to hate him. I couldn’t say his name without getting sick to my stomach.”
By the time David returned from treatment, Ellen had decided it was worth seeing what God could do with their marriage.
“It was a scary time,” Ellen says. “Both of us believed that God had been mightily at work over the 30 days he was in treatment. We decided it was time to change our entire way of living.
“Memorial Day 2015 will mark two years since the beginning of our transition. The peace we have today is something we didn’t know existed when we were in the throes of the addiction. It has not been easy, but it has been worth every bit of the time, energy and commitment.”
If you find yourself where Ellen and David have been, they would like to share some thoughts with you:
Few alcoholics or addicts intend to destroy their marriage.
It is never too late to seek help. While it was often hard for Ellen and David to see past the shame, pain and embarrassment, getting treatment and allowing others to come alongside them in the midst of their struggle was one of the best moves they made.
Stop trying to fix it. Ellen had to acknowledge her role in this situation. She thought she had to fix it alone. When she stopped trying to fix him, things changed.
Healthy boundaries are necessary. Boundaries that honor God, yourself and your marriage allow you to make wise decisions. Sometimes leaving for a time is necessary.
“For all of the men and women who find themselves feeling like they are at the end of their rope, we both want them to know there is hope,” Ellen says. “This has been a very long walk in obedience for both of us. It was so worth being uncomfortable and hanging in there when I didn’t want to and to see how God would take two very broken people and bring healing to our marriage.”
Where to Find Help
Parkridge Valley Hospital: 423-894-4220
Bradford Health Services: 423-892-2639
Alcoholics Anonymous: 423-499-6003
Al Anon: 423-892-9462
Celebrate Recovery: chattanoogarecovery.info